Publications by authors named "Peter Seto"

13 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

An assessment of the feasibility of employing biochemical acidogenic potential tests for characterizing anaerobic biodegradability of raw and pretreated waste activated sludge.

Water Environ Res 2012 Apr;84(4):362-9

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

The potential to use the results of biochemical acid potential (BAP) tests to predict the ultimate digestibility of raw and pretreated waste activated sludge (WAS) was investigated. The ultimate methane production from biochemical methane potential (BMP) tests on raw and pretreated samples which spanned a range of biodegradability proved linearly related to the volatile fatty acid (VFA) and soluble chemical oxygen demand (COD) production in corresponding BAP tests. In addition, a linear relationship between NH4-N production in the BMP and BAP tests was observed. Despite the linear nature of the relationships, the ratio of the production of methane in the BMP tests to the production of VFAs in the BAP tests varied with the biodegradability of the sludge samples. Waste Activated Sludge samples with low digestibility had ultimate yields of CH4 that were greater than the VFA yields in BAP tests, whereas sludge samples with high digestibility had lower yields of CH4 than the corresponding VFA yields. This trend contrasted with the NH4 results, in which the yields in the BAP tests were consistently less than those observed in the BMP tests. It was hypothesized that the varying relationship between CH4 and VFA yields was because of the inhibition of anaerobic oxidation of long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) in the BAP tests. Long-chain fatty acids would be converted to CH4 in BMP tests but produced as digestion intermediates in the BAP tests and were not measured as part of the VFA yield. Hydrogen and acetate were identified as the two most likely intermediates that would accumulate in the BAP tests (which would cause inhibition). A stoichiometric model to facilitate the development of an improved understanding of the biodegradation processes in the BAP and BMP tests was assembled. When the model was applied to the BAP tests the anaerobic oxidation of LCFAs and propionate and methanogenesis were excluded from the model. The model was employed to estimate the extent of degradation of lipids, carbohydrates, and proteins in the batch tests as a function of the ultimate biodegradability of the sludge samples. On the basis of model fitting, it was determined that the degradation of lipids in BMP tests decreased, whereas the degradation of carbohydrates and proteins increased as the digestibility of the sludge samples increased. The varying ratio of lipid to protein and carbohydrate degradability with increasing digestibility of the sludge samples describes the relationship between VFA production and CH4 production in the BAP, and BMP tests, respectively.
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April 2012

Eliminating methanogenic activity in hydrogen reactor to improve biogas production in a two-stage anaerobic digestion process co-digesting municipal food waste and sewage sludge.

Bioresour Technol 2011 Jul 28;102(14):7086-92. Epub 2011 Apr 28.

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1.

Laboratory scale two-stage anaerobic digestion process model was operated for 280 days to investigate the feasibility to produce both hydrogen and methane from a mixture feedstock (1:1 (v/v)) of municipal food waste and sewage sludge. The maximum hydrogen and methane yields obtained in the two stages were 0.93 and 9.5 mL/mL feedstock. To eliminate methanogenic activity and obtain substantial hydrogen production in the hydrogen reactor, both feedstock and mixed liquor required treatment. The heat treatment (100°C, 10 min) for feedstock and a periodical treatment (every 2-5 weeks, either heating, removal of biomass particles or flushing with air) for mixed liquor were effective in different extent. The methane production in the second stage was significantly improved by the hydrogen production in the first stage. The maximum methane production obtained in the period of high hydrogen production was more than 2-fold of that observed in the low hydrogen production period.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2011.04.047DOI Listing
July 2011

Empirical modelling and dual-performance optimisation of a hydrogen sulphide removal process for biogas treatment.

Bioresour Technol 2010 Dec 3;101(23):9387-90. Epub 2010 Aug 3.

Environment Canada, Aquatic Ecosystems Management Research Division, 867 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario, Canada L7R 4A6.

This study was conducted in order to investigate the use of a simple, low-cost technology for the removal of hydrogen sulphide (H(2)S) from biogas, consisting of an anoxic biotrickling filter. Modelling and optimisation of the process was achieved by studying two independent variables (H(2)S concentration and biogas flowrate) and two simultaneous performance criteria (H(2)S removal efficiency (%) and H(2)S loading rate (g/(m(3) bed day)), which were inversely related. The experiments were carried out on a bioreactor with a 12 L packing volume. H(2)S concentration and biogas flowrate were varied in the range of 2000-4000 ppm(v) and 10-70 L/h, respectively. A model sensitivity analysis indicated the influence of the process variables on the bioreactor performance. Process optimisation was undertaken on a H(2)S removal efficiency basis, while maintaining a target H(2)S loading rate, depending on the desired quality for the biogas use and the technological requirements.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2010.06.113DOI Listing
December 2010

An evaluation of protocols for characterization of ozone impacts on WAS properties and digestibility.

Bioresour Technol 2010 Nov 17;101(22):8565-72. Epub 2010 Jul 17.

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontorio, Canada.

Waste activated sludge (WAS) samples that were generated over a range of solids residence times (SRTs) were employed in bench scale ozonation tests to evaluate the impact of ozonation, on physical, chemical and biochemical properties of WAS and digestibility. Solubilization responses suggested that the types of solubilized materials were affected by the ozone dose and the SRT of WAS. The results obtained from biochemical methane potential (BMP) showed that ozonation did not considerably increase the ultimate digestibility of shorter SRT sludges while a high dose caused a substantial increase in the digestibility of a 15 day SRT sludge. The biochemical acid potential (BAP) tests as a shorter term test (10 days) than the BMP (55 days) test could provide information on hydrolysis and acidification/ammonification rates. The results revealed that ozonation substantially increased the rate of hydrolysis which is often the rate limiting process in WAS digestion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2010.06.061DOI Listing
November 2010

A pilot study of anaerobic membrane digesters for concurrent thickening and digestion of waste activated sludge (WAS).

Water Sci Technol 2010 ;61(6):1451-8

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada.

The increased interest in biomass energy provides incentive for the development of efficient and high throughput digesters such as anaerobic membrane bioreactors (AnMBRs) to stabilize waste activated sludge (WAS). This paper presents the results of a pilot and short term filtration study that was conducted to assess the performance of AnMBRs when treating WAS at a 15 day hydraulic retention time (HRT) and 30 day sludge retention time (SRT) in comparison to two conventional digesters running at 15 (BSR-15) and 30 days (BSR-30) HRT/SRT. At steady state, the AnMBR digester showed a slightly higher volatile solids (VS) destruction of 48% in comparison to 44% and 35.3% for BSR-30 and BSR-15, respectively. The corresponding values of specific methane production were 0.32, 0.28 and 0.21 m(3) CH(4)/kg of VS fed. Stable membrane operation at an average flux of 40+/-3.6 LM(-2 )H(-1) (LMH) was observed when the digester was fed with a polymer-dosed thickened waste activated sludge (TWAS) and digester total suspended solids (TSS) concentrations were less than 15 gL(-1). Above this solids concentration a flux decline to 24.1+/-2.0 LM(-2) H(-1) was observed. Short term filtration tests conducted using sludge fractions of a 9.7 and 17.1 gL(-1) TSS sludge indicated 84 and 70% decline in filtration performance to be associated with the supernatant fraction of the sludge. At a higher sludge concentration, the introduction of unique fouling control strategy to tubular membranes, a relaxed mode of operation (i.e. 5 minutes permeation and 1 minute relaxation by) significantly increased the flux from 23.8+/-1.1 to 37.8+/-2.3 LMH for a neutral membrane and from 25.7+/-1.1 to 44.9+/-2.9 LMH for a negatively charged membrane. The study clearly indicates that it is technically feasible to employ AnMBRs to achieve a substantial reduction in digester volumes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2166/wst.2010.028DOI Listing
May 2010

Dynamics of selected pre-existing polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) in municipal wastewater sludge under anaerobic conditions.

Chemosphere 2010 Mar 18;78(10):1220-4. Epub 2010 Jan 18.

National Water Research Institute, Environment Canada, 867 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario, Canada.

Despite the rapid, widespread accumulation of polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) in our surroundings, their environmental fate has been largely unknown. In the present study, most common congeners (BDE 47, 99, 100, 138, 153, 154, 183 and 209) were investigated for their dynamics in municipal sewage sludge under mesophilic condition (37 degrees C). In anaerobic batch cultures, the concentrations of BDE 47, 99, 100 and 209, exhibited significant decreases (by 22-40% from their initial concentration), whereas the levels of the other congeners, BDE 138, 153, 154 and 183, remained stable during a 238-d incubation. However, in a parallel study conducted in a pilot-scale anaerobic sludge digester, loss of all eight congeners was observed. The present study indicates that certain PBDE congeners undergo a significant mass decrease under anaerobic conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2009.12.057DOI Listing
March 2010

DNA microarray-based detection and identification of waterborne protozoan pathogens.

J Microbiol Methods 2010 Feb 4;80(2):129-33. Epub 2009 Dec 4.

National Water Research Institute, Environment Canada, Burlington, Ontario, Canada L7R 4A6.

A DNA microarray with 21 oligonucleotide probes was developed to detect most of the common waterborne protozoan pathogens. The DNA microarray accurately identified 3 test protozoa strains based on the small subunit (SSU) rRNA gene sequence. The detection limit was approximately 1x10(3) target genes, or 50 Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts, per assay. As a parallel study to verify the efficiency of the DNA microarray, a real-time PCR assay was also developed targeting functional genes as well as the SSU rRNA gene. The present protozoa DNA microarray, when combined with our previous bacterial DNA microarray, may serve as a comprehensive water quality monitoring tool.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mimet.2009.11.015DOI Listing
February 2010

Evaluation of different packing media for anoxic H2S control in biogas.

Environ Technol 2009 Nov;30(12):1249-59

Environment Canada, Burlington, Ontario, Canada.

This paper presents the experimental results obtained during the operation of two biotrickling filters packed with 6.7 L of commercially available plastic fibres and lava rocks, respectively. The biotrickling filters were tested under similar operating conditions for hydrogen sulphide (H2S) removal from biogas under anoxic conditions, in order to determine the influence of biogas flow rate and H2S concentration on the process performance and to facilitate process modelling. The biogas flow rate was adjusted to between 25 and 75 L/h, while the input H2S concentration was varied between 500 and 1500 ppmv. The process performance was evaluated by two simultaneous system responses, namely the H2S removal efficiency and H2S loading rate, which were subsequently described by a second-order empirical model and an interaction model, respectively. Good agreement between the experimental results, model prediction and simultaneous dual-response simulation was obtained.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09593330902998314DOI Listing
November 2009

Buffer requirements for enhanced hydrogen production in acidogenic digestion of food wastes.

Bioresour Technol 2009 Nov 2;100(21):5097-102. Epub 2009 Jul 2.

Aquatic Ecosystems Management Research Division, Water Science and Technology, Environment Canada, 867 Lakeshore Road, P.O. Box 5050, Burlington, Ontario, Canada L7R 4A6.

The requirements for pH buffer addition for hydrogen production and acidogenesis in batch acidogenic digestion of a food waste (FW) feedstock with limited alkalinity was studied at various initial pH conditions (6.0-8.0). The results showed that, without buffer addition, hydrogen production from this feedstock was insignificant regardless of the initial pH. With buffer addition, hydrogen production improved significantly if the initial pH was greater than 6.0. Substantial hydrogen production occurred when the pH at the end of the batch digestion was higher than 5.5. The maximum hydrogen production was found to be 120 mL/g VS added when the initial pH was 6.5 and buffer addition was in the range of 15-20 mmol/g VS. The effect of pH buffering on the formation of volatile fatty acids (acetic acid, propionic acid and butyric acid) was similar to its effect on hydrogen production. The results of this study clearly indicated shifts in the metabolic pathways with the pH of fermentation. The changes in metabolic pathways impacted upon the dosage of buffer that was required to achieve maximum hydrogen generation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2009.02.066DOI Listing
November 2009

Effects of ultrasound on suspended particles in municipal wastewater.

Water Res 2009 May 27;43(8):2251-9. Epub 2009 Feb 27.

Environment Canada, Burlington, ON, Canada.

The objective of this research is to explore the fundamental characteristics of how particles in wastewater respond to ultrasound, with an aim to improve wastewater disinfection. Particles of a predetermined size fraction and concentration were treated with varying doses of ultrasound at 20.3 kHz. Ultrasonic power transfer to the fluid was measured using calorimetry or acoustical measurements. Image analysis particle counting was used to measure the size distribution of particles before and after ultrasound treatment. The influence of three parameters: particle origin (raw wastewater or from the aeration basin of the activated sludge process), particle concentration, and particle size on the percentage of particle breakage after ultrasound treatment was compared. It was found that raw wastewater and aeration basin particles of the same size fraction (90-106 microm) responded to ultrasound in a similar way. Particle breakage was not affected by changes in particle concentration from 100 to 400 particles per mL. Larger wastewater particles (90-250 microm) were more susceptible to breakage than smaller ones (38-63 microm diameter). The percentage of particle breakage increased linearly with a logarithmic increase in the ultrasound energy density, that is the ultrasound energy delivered per unit volume of the sample (R(2)=0.48-0.91). An expression that predicts the percent of particles broken as a function of ultrasound energy density is provided.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2009.02.024DOI Listing
May 2009

Co-production of hydrogen and methane from potato waste using a two-stage anaerobic digestion process.

Bioresour Technol 2008 Jul 25;99(11):5078-84. Epub 2007 Oct 25.

Aquatic Ecosystems Management Research Division, Water Science and Technology, Environment Canada, 867 Lakeshore Road, PO Box 5050, Burlington, Ontario, Canada L7R 4A6.

Hydrogen and methane co-production from potato waste was examined using a two-stage process of anaerobic digestion. The hydrogen stage was operated in continuous flow under a pH of 5.5 and a HRT of 6h. The methane stage was operated in both continuous and semi-continuous flows under HRTs of 30 h and 90 h, respectively, with pH controlled at 7. A maximum gas production rate of 270 ml/h and an average of 119 ml/h were obtained from the hydrogen stage during the operation over 110 days. The hydrogen concentration contained in the gas was 45% (v/v), on average. The maximum and average gas production rates observed from methane reactor during the 74 days of semi-continuous flow operation were 187 and 141 ml/h, respectively, with an average methane concentration of 76%. Overall, 70% of VS, 64% of total COD in the feedstock were removed. The hydrogen and methane yields from the potato waste were 30 l/kg TS (with a maximum of 68 l/kg) and 183 l/kg TS (with a maximum of 225 l/kg), respectively. The total energy yield obtained was 2.14 kW h/kg TS, with a maximum of 2.74 kW h/kg TS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2007.08.083DOI Listing
July 2008

Sample storage and extraction efficiencies in determination of polycyclic and nitro musks in sewage sludge.

Chemosphere 2007 Feb 6;67(2):267-75. Epub 2006 Dec 6.

Environment Canada, Water Science and Technology Directorate, 867 Lakeshore Road, P.O. Box 5050, Burlington, Ont., Canada L7R 4A6.

Analytical technology is continuously improving, developing better methods for isolating and concentrating trace compounds in environmental samples. Polycyclic and nitro musks (PNMs) are one group of emerging trace compounds detected in municipal wastewater. Differences in sample storage, preparation, and extraction methods for their measurement have led to variability in results. We analyzed 11 PNMs by GC/MS and compared the results of different storage times and extraction methods (supercritical fluid (SFE) or microwave-assisted (MAE)) for 202 samples of primary sludge, waste activated sludge (WAS), raw sludge, and aerobically/anaerobically digested biosolids collected from Canadian municipal wastewater treatment plants. Sixty-three air-dried samples were extracted by SFE, and 139 air-dried, centrifuged, or filtered samples were extracted by MAE. The mean surrogate recoveries were 89% (standard deviation (SD)=11%) for d(10)-anthracene by SFE and 88% (SD=14%) for d(10)-phenanthrene by MAE. Storage study results showed that PNM concentrations changed by a mean of 7% and 9% for primary sludge and WAS respectively after four weeks and decreased up to 25% after 13.5 months of storage in amber glass containers at -18 degrees C. Air-drying of sludge at room temperature caused losses of about 50% of PNM concentrations compared to centrifugation. The proportions of PNMs present in the liquid phase of sludge samples were less than 5% compared to proportions in the sludge solids. The most complete liquid-solid separation was achieved by filtration of frozen/thawed sludge samples, producing a liquid phase that contained less than 1% of the total musk content of the sample.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2006.10.031DOI Listing
February 2007

Occurrence and reductions of pharmaceuticals and personal care products and estrogens by municipal wastewater treatment plants in Ontario, Canada.

Sci Total Environ 2006 Aug 12;367(2-3):544-58. Epub 2006 May 12.

Environment Canada, National Water Research Institute, 867 Lakeshore Road, P. O. Box 5050, Burlington, Ontario, Canada L7R 4A6.

Over the last ten years there have been reports of pharmaceuticals and personal care product (PPCP) residuals in municipal wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents. The principle goal of this study was specifically to expand and in some cases establish a Canadian database for the presence of selected acidic drugs, triclosan, polycyclic musks, and selected estrogens in MWWTP influent and effluent. The impact of treatment configuration (e.g. lagoons, conventional activated sludge (CAS), and CAS followed by media filtration (CAS+filtration)) was also examined. For CAS systems, the most prevalent treatment type, the effect of operating temperature and SRT was evaluated. Selected PPCPs included ten acidic pharmaceuticals (i.e. a group of pharmaceuticals that are extractable at a pH of 2 or less), triclosan, five polycyclic musks and two estrogens. The pharmaceuticals and musks were selected on the basis of levels of use in Canada; reported aquatic toxicity effects; and the ability to analyze for the compounds at low levels. Twelve MWWTPs discharging into the Thames River, the second largest river in southwestern Ontario, were surveyed. The only common characteristic of acidic drugs is their extraction pH as they differ in their intended biological function and chemical structure. Many organics degraded by WWTP processes benefit from warm temperatures and long SRTs so the impact of these variables warranted additional attention. Influent concentrations and reductions for acidic drugs reported by this study were compared to other Canadian studies, when available, and European investigations. The data of this study seems consistent with other reports. Ten acidic drugs were considered by this study. Three were consistently present at non-quantifiable levels (e.g. CLF, FNP and FNF). Additionally, one analyte, SYL, presented results that were so inconsistent that the values were not analysed. The remaining six acidic pharmaceuticals were placed into three categories. IBU and NPX members of the first category had consistently high reductions. At the level of reduction achieved (i.e. median reduction of greater than 93%) and any effect of treatment type or operating characteristics would be subtle and non-discernable given the analytical noise. In the second group are KTP and IND, and definitive comments are difficult to make on the impact of treatment type and operational considerations due to a sparse data set (i.e. many influent values were at non-quantifiable concentrations). Median reductions were in the 23% to 44% range. In the last category are GMF and DCF which have median reductions of 66% and -34%, respectively. Several negative reduction values in the data set (i.e. twelve of twenty six sampling events) suggest that DCF may be deconjugated under certain conditions. This warrants further evaluation when analytical methods for measuring human metabolites of DCF are available. For both GMF and DCF, reduction does not appear to be strongly influenced by SRTs up to 15 days, while SRTs over 30 days were associated with more frequent non-quantifiable effluent levels of DCF. This would suggest that better treatment would be provided by lagoons and CAS systems with extended aeration. Preliminary data suggests that temperature does not play a strong role in the reduction of these compounds. Triclosan (TCL) was detected at concentrations of 0.01-4.01 microg/L in influent samples and 0.01-0.324 microg/L in effluent samples. Reduction of TCL ranged from 74% to 98%. Lagoon treatment seems to be the best TCL reduction as it was present in the influent and effluent at quantifiable and non-quantifiable concentrations, respectively, on nine of nine sampling occasions. Influent and reduction values of five polycyclic musks (e.g. ADBI, AHMI, ATII, HHCB, and AHTN) were examined over the course of this study. AHMI was predominantly present at non-quantifiable concentrations. HHCB and AHTN were present at the highest concentrations. A comparison between Canadian values and those of European studies indicate that in general polycyclic musk concentrations in Canadian MWWTP effluents are 5-10 times lower. More extensive European and Canadian databases would be useful in confirming this initial observation. Median reductions for the five remaining musks range between 37% and 65% in CAS systems. CAS+filtration systems would be expected to have higher reductions if musks were bound to the effluent solids. This trend is not apparent but this may be due to the small size of the data set. In lagoon systems, musk reduction for HHCB and AHTN are approximately 98-99%. For ADBI and ATII musk, there are no numerical reduction values as most often the effluent concentration was non-quantifiable. In some instances, both the influent and effluent concentrations were non-quantifiable. The hormones 17-beta-estradiol (E2) and estrone (E1) were detected at concentrations of 0.006 to 0.014 and 0.016 to 0.049 microg/L, respectively. E2 was not detected in any effluent samples (<0.005 microg/L) whereas E1 was detected in effluent samples from CAS treatment plants (median of 0.008 microg/L), and in one sample from lagoons. These data demonstrate that there are detectable levels of PPCPs entering Canadian waterways at trace levels, and that only some of these compounds are being reduced in a significant proportion by municipal wastewater treatment processes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2006.03.021DOI Listing
August 2006
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